Uyghur Update: 26th July-1st August

Today my supervisor tried to convince me again to upgrade to a PhD and one of his new arguments was that I could go back to “Uyghur land” and become a professor there. I laughed and said I doubted they’d let me into the country. Even if they did, they would probably want me to teach in Chinese rather than Uyghur… and I probably would not be able to write this blog haha. Honestly at this point I only laugh because the alternative would be to get depressed and I can’t be about that rn.

In the Uyghur Region

Uyghurche has been banned in schools now:

In late June, the Education Department in Xinjiang’s Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture issued a five-point directive outlawing the use of Uyghur at schools in favor of Mandarin Chinese “in order to strengthen elementary and middle/high school bilingual education.”

Under the directive—a copy of which was obtained by RFA’s Uyghur Service—schools must “insist on fully popularizing the national common language and writing system according to law, and add the education of ethnic language under the bilingual education basic principle.”

Beginning in the fall semester this year, Mandarin Chinese “must be resolutely and fully implemented” for the three years of preschool, and “promoted” from the first years of elementary and middle school “in order to realize the full coverage of the common language and writing system education.”

The directive instructs schools to “resolutely correct the flawed method of providing Uyghur language training to Chinese language teachers” and “prohibit the use of Uyghur language, writing, signs and pictures in the educational system and on campuses.”

Additionally, the order bans the use of Uyghur language in “collective activities, public activities and management work of the education system.”

Any school or individual that fails to enforce the new policy, that “plays politics, pretends to implement, or acts one way and does another,” will be designated “two-faced” and “severely punished,” it said, using a term regularly applied by the government to Uyghurs who do not willingly follow such directives.

Basically it’s saying that Chinese language teachers should not learn Uyghurche, and Uyghur teachers should only speak Chinese so that the students can learn the language better. To improve the (er) “bilingual” education.

“All teachings will be conducted in the Chinese, not Uyghur, language in the upcoming semester,” [an Uyghur official at the Chira county’s Education Bureau] said.

“Even the Uyghur textbooks will be replaced with Chinese textbooks from inland China. All teachers and students are required to speak the Chinese language only in the school and education system,” he added.

The Uyghur official said that while Hotan prefecture had repeatedly tried to implement a bilingual education policy over the past 10 years, “the national language hasn’t become popularized.”

“As a result, the Prefectural Education Department issued this directive to deal with this situation,” he said.

A Han Chinese official from the Education Bureau for the seat of Hotan prefecture told RFA that the directive is being implemented throughout the prefecture to “encourage” the learning of the national language.

“Education authorities decided to ban the use of the Uyghur language in order to create a favorable environment for minorities to study the national language,” he said.

“This is, in fact, good for Uyghurs to study the national language. Uyghur students will not study Mandarin if they learn from Uyghur language materials in the school system. That is why they should immerse themselves daily in Chinese language announcements, propaganda, signs and other materials.”

“All meetings and collective activities” in the school system will be held in Mandarin in the future, the official added.

It sounds like it’s only happening in Hotan at the moment but I doubt it will take long to reach the whole of the region. It is no longer a secret that China wants to ban Uyghurche or control Uyghur people in ways that abuse our human rights. And still the world turns a blind eye…

Check out these photos:

For those of you who do not know Uyghur or Chinese, these are signs of the new words one must say while doing the athaan, takbeer, du’aa and tasbeeh. Basically one praises Xi Jinping and the country of China instead of Allah. I actually posted about this in May on Instagram and it looks like they have really put it into effect. Here are the translations from the notices from then (they’ve mostly stayed the same, except for the tasbeeh):

Hotan wilayitining namazgha alaqidar 7 noqtini birlikke kelturush pilani:

1. Hotan wilayiti boyiche namazda oqulidighan Quran surah-ayetlerni birlikke kelturush: 1-parining 1-surisi bilen 30-paridin 9 surah (94-, 95-, 97-, 99-, 103-, 106-, 107-, 110-, 113-surah) tallinip, jemii 10 surah namazlarda oqulidu.

Surahs permitted: Surah Al-Fatiha and 9 surahs from the 30th juz (Surah al-Inshirah, al-Tin, al-Qadr, az-Zalzalah, al-‘Asr, al-Quraish, al-Ma’un, an-Nasr, al-Falaq) for a total of 10 surahs.

2. Hotan wilayiti boyiche juma namizida qilidighan tebligh mezmuni birlikke kelturush: 2017-yili juma namizida tebligh qilidighan mezmunlar alliburun her qayisi sheher, nahiyelerge tarqitildi. Nowette putkul wilayet juma oquldighan meschitlerde bir tutash tarqitilghan pilan we mezmun boyiche tebligh we tepsir qilinidu

The tebligh (sermons) given at Friday prayers have been pre-written and distributed to all areas of Hotan prefecture (so all mosques and imams must follow the rules hereafter).

3. Hotan wilayiti boyiche juma namizida oqulidighan khutbini birlikke kelturush: 2017-yili juma namizida oqulidighan besh parche Arabche khutbe mezmuni alliburun her qayisi sheher, nahiyelerge tarqitishqa teyyar boldi. Bundin keyin putkul wilayet jume oqulidighan mesjidlerde bir tutash tarqitilghan besh parche Arabche khutbah mezmunigha asasen khutbah oqulidu. (Dini zatlar peqet Arabchila oquydu)

The context of the sermons given at each Friday prayer (5 subjects) is pre-written and distributed to all areas of Hotan prefecture. Imams and clerks must deliver the Khutbah accordingly and in Arabic only.

4. Hotan wilayiti boyiche namazlarda oqulidighan athaan, tekbir, tesbeeh, we du’aalarni birlikke kelturush: Azaan: “Biz hemmimiz wetenning perzentiliri (x2), weten ulugh (x2), namaz waqti keldi, beht tileshke tiz kilinglar, wetenning inaq muqimliqni tilenglar, wetenning gullep yashinishni tilenglar”

The athaan will go as follows: “We are all children of our great country (x2), China is the greatest (x2), It is time for prayer, Come to wish good fortune for all, for the stability of our country, for the prosperity of our country”

5. Tekbir: “Biz hemmimiz wetenning perzentliri (x2), weten ulugh (x2), namaz berpa qilindi, mukemmel bolushni tileymiz, wetenning inaq muqimliqni tileymiz, wetenning gullep yashinishni tileymiz”

The Tekbir will be as follows: “We are all children of our country (China) (x2), China is great (x2), Prayers have been established, we pray for the peace and harmony of our country China”

6. Tasbeeh: “wetenge minnetdarmiz, Xi reisige minnetdarmiz”

Tasbeeh: “We are grateful to our country, we are grateful to our leader Xi (Jinping)” — this has been changed to “Dolitimiz Jonggugha minnetdarliq bildurimiz, Re-is Xi Jinping’gha minnetdarliq bildurimiz” which explicitly states “We will show our gratitude to our country China, We will show our gratitude to our leader Xi Jinping.” (It used to say just “weten” which means country, rather than Jonnguo/China).

7. Du’aa: “Hotanning tinish muqsim bolushini, hatirjem tirikchilik qilishni, yashanghanlarning saghlam bolup uzun omur korushini, balilarning hoshal-horam chong bolushini, her bir ailining inaq, behtlik bolushni tileymiz. Hatirjemlik we beht tileymiz!”

Du’aa (supplication prayers): We pray for the safety and stability of Hotan prefecture, we pray for the peace of every household, we pray for a long and healthy life for our elders and younger generations and also pray for a happy and prosperous life for everyone.”

I am not sure if this has spread further than the Hotan prefecture yet (but again, it probably will soon).

I’ve also noticed that photos of the Id Kah Mosque now have a Chinese flag flying above it, whereas it wasn’t there before. You also have to walk through metal detectors to get in. (And women aren’t allowed to pray there? And non-Muslim tourists have to pay to visit?)

Looks like they’re changing the family planning policies again? Minority urban couples can have 2 children and rural couples can have 3. It’s funny how they talk about population increases and fail to mention that it’s largely because of the influx of Han Chinese from China and not because of birthrates. There are so many stories of women who are forced to abort their children and children affected by nuclear waste from the testing done in Lop Nur. Family planning policies do not promote ethnic equality at all… anyway, this is from Global Times, which is a Chinese news portal. I guess we’ll have more information about this next week.

This isn’t strictly “Uyghur” news but apparently 200 Kazakh people born in East Turkestan but who had moved to Kazakhstan are being deported back. Why?

And finally… well… I found this article. China and Russia will be co-hosting the International Army Games. Wtf. After some Googling I found out that this isn’t the Military Games, where ex-military compete in sports – no, this is literally army games where you compete in things like weapons handling and infantry attacks/races or nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance. Apparently Russia started it last year… and now… it’s a thing? But China will be hosting four out of six of these events in Korla. KORLA. Just… wtf…

Outside of East Turkestan

So Dolkun Isa (WUC, UNPO) is in the news again. He was meant to speak at a press conference hosted by Senator Luigi Compagna and co-organised by UNPO and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (PRNTT), but he was detained by Italian police and questioned about his identity for hours. He may have also be questioned by Chinese officials. Apparently he was stopped at in front of the senate building and taken in by plainclothes members of the Divisione Investigazioni Generali e Operazioni Speciali (DIGOS):

When Isa demanded to know why he had been detained, the DIGOS officers informed him that they had acted on a request from China, which routinely objects to political activities by ethnic Uyghurs living in exile from their traditional homeland in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Interpol had issued an international alert on Isa several years ago based on what he called a “politically motivated and baseless request” by the Chinese government, and the alert was later rejected by German authorities, who viewed it as a “political warrant,” he told the DIGOS officers.

In November last year, China’s Deputy Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei was elected president of Interpol, Isa told the officers, and asking Interpol to run a check on his background “is like asking the Chinese government” to do so. The officers informed Isa that they intend to proceed with the Interpol check.

Isa told RFA after his release that he was treated well while in custody and expressed gratitude to the German government for its intervention in his detention. He also thanked members of the Italian Senate, the Nonviolent Radical Party, the UNPO and the WUC for their concern.

It made a few headlines: Reuters, NY Times

There has actually been some protesting as China’s vice minister of public security Meng Hongwei is sworn in as the president of Interpol. Shouldn’t there be some sort of regulation for this? Surely there’s conflict of interest? I feel like they’re going to start arresting human rights activists soon.

Here’s a nice little Letter to the Editor which asks Pakistan to help the Muslims (Uyghurs) in ‘China’ as “China’s ‘all-weather friend’”. I wish Pakistan would help their Muslim ummah. I wish.

Uyghurs in Egypt

The Dean of Al-Azhar University admitted that Uyghur students had been taken into custody (which he had previously denied).

Here’s an update on the situation though. From the first account it seems like Chinese authorities are now conducting searches, not just Egyptian authorities. Egypt’s really letting China run their streets now? Here’s a video interview with someone who was in Egypt. This might be a better video.

China being a Prick

I found this really neat review of a book called Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power by Howard W. French. The review is titled “The Real Reason Behind Chinese Expansionism” and goes through some Chinese imperialist history which is interesting to read.

An analysis of China’s trading with Europe.

A neat video on the current climate between China and India regarding border disputes and army deployments. Interesting to see that India refused to join China’s big trade plans.


A German envoy has cried foul over China’s new bans on VPNs and tighter internet controls. But Apple is complying with China and removing its VPN apps from their stores? I really wish Apple would just pull out of China and stop abusing their cheap labour to build their products.

On Liu Xiaobo: he has died, but his wife Liu Xia, who had been under a sort of “unofficial house arrest” for a while now, is still under harsh scrutiny from China despite never being charged with anything. Here’s a journalist getting harassed for trying to find out what happened to her. Anyway it seems like she might have disappeared

Here’s an article that talks about more “prisoners of conscience” still trapped in China.

And finally, an article that talks about the worsening human rights abuses in China. There’s a photo of Xi Jinping in there which is captioned with his name and then “(not Winnie the Pooh)” lmao.


Outside of Politics

Found a few more travel blogs, one in Kucha and two others in Urumchi: 1, 2. This one is about a girl who studied music and learnt Uyghurche for a year as an exchange student and I thought it was really cool (also she does look Uyghur haha). I think I find them fun to read because I can live vicariously through them as I don’t know when I will ever be able to go there #sigh.

I also came across this Tweet and found out that there’s going to be a new movie called Crazy Rich Asians based on the book by Kevin Kwan. Apparently(?) there’s a character in there who is half-Uyghur but she is being played by a half-Japanese half-white actress Sonoya Mizuno. Tbh I don’t really care… I doubt the character is going to have anything Uyghur about her anyway. I have heard of some Uyghur actors trying to make it in Hollywood though so maybe it would have been nice for them to have been cast. Still, I guess it’s more important that there are big budget films being made by Asians for Asians in Hollywood in a time where representation really matters in the US. If this is successful then maybe there will be more movies for Asian people of more backgrounds (rather than just East Asians). I just really want to see a big budget movie with a Central Asian in its main cast lol. Not even Uyghur, just Central Asian.


Anyway, tell me if I missed anything.


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